Webcam to monitor Children’s Pool

LA JOLLA, Calif. — An Internet webcam installed atop the condemned lifeguard tower at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla has been added to the mayor’s website and will be streamed on CityTV, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Thursday.

How long the camera stays is an open question, since the tower is slated for replacement. The equipment was paid for and installed last week by Western Alliance for Nature, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving biodiversity through wildlife conservation and education.

Children's Pool“This is a great way to showcase San Diego’s unique, natural treasure with people all over the world,” Filner said at a news conference. “I personally am looking forward to checking out the webcam to observe the seals.”

Harbor seals that took over the beach in the early 1990s have become an attraction to tourists and locals alike. Their presence also is the source of controversy, since beach-access advocates want the area returned to its original use as a safe swimming area for kids.

The city has installed a rope across the opening to the beach to discourage visitors from disturbing the seals, which are in the midst of their pupping season. The camera displayed several people near the seals at one point, but the beach appeared to be clear of human activity a few minutes later.

Larry and Sara Wan, the founders of the Western Alliance for Nature, said they hope the webcam promotes good practices and management.

“Wildlife faces severe human population pressures and this allows us to monitor their behavior and activities to make sure their needs in this environment are being met,” Larry Wan said.

He said the camera is equipped with night vision to give observers a rare glimpse at harbor seals giving birth, which they only do at night.

The webcam’s images are on the lower right of the mayor’s web page at sandiego.gov/mayor.

The webcam will also stream on CityTV between airings of public meetings, according to Filner. The city of San Diego’s broadcasting outlet is on Channel 24 on Cox Cable, and online at sandiego.gov.

14 comments

  • SoCal

    Yeah and today there were some idiots with children getting VERY close to those seals, I watched as one of the children got close enough to almost touch one, way to go parents, what stupidity, and when someone gets bitten, that gives the ones that don't want the seals there in the first place a way to get rid of those animals that deserve to be there. Put the rope back up and keep people a safe distance, leave the animals alone for their pupping season, then allow people back on the beach when the pups are safely out of there.

  • pirate

    It amazes me that the people of San Diego care more about the seals than they do the homeless human beings throughout the City. . . the irony just not right. If only the crazys that yell at the people at the children's pool beach would take some food and clothes to the humans, oh wait that would be asking too much. Wake up San Diego.

  • John Ford

    pirate, hey idiot we aren't bringing food or clothes to the seals and the homeless are homeless sometimes because they want to be or perhaps because they put themselves in the situation that they are in. In this case it is nature and offers an opportunity to see it from a close distance.

  • Spearmen

    SoCal, your the idiot, they amended the Children's Pool trust for a marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit for CHILDREN, so the children gets to play, "enjoyment " with the seals, and if they get to close to the seals and the take to the water, then the children learns,
    "educational" what happens if they get to close or bitten, then the parents file a lawsuit suing the city big time.

  • yah boi

    SoCal… this is called "CHILDREN'S POOL", built by the taxpayers of San Diego for a place families and children can safely wander. Yes, seals have appeared over the years and activists stress families to not interfere with their space. THEIR space? Are you kidding me?? This was created for us/humans and we have rights to the parks the city invests in.

  • les

    spearman this is a federal mandate not the city's ruling. so if anyone gets sued it's the federal government..but you should remember we the citizens are the government and any money paid is really paid by us…and Yah boi..we created the space? no it was there long before humans were even around..putting up a wall is not creating….not enough beach for you now you need more?

  • Spearmen

    Ies, your another idiot that doesn't no what your talking about, there is no" federal mandate" here, the feds don't have jurisdiction of the beach , only the enforcement of the protection of seals, federal law has no set distance to be from a seal, and yes, the city and state of Ca. is responsible as they asked the state to amended the trust so the seals could stay on a beach intrusted to children and people.
    The feds even warned the city not to let the seal colonize the beach,
    Yes we did create a beach by the construction of the seawall as there was no beach their before and not their is no dangerous rip currants on this beach as ALL the beaches in La Jolla have rip currants.
    You are correct that the money will come from SD city tax payers.

  • Eric

    Having a camera will be a great way to share seal events with tourists and enthusiasts.

    But in regards to the overall seal debate. We should consider that every seal eats 10-20 lbs of sealife per day. With about 100 seals, that would be 1000-2000 lbs of sealife destroyed per day. Is it wise to encourage an unchallenged predator next to the Scripps underwater preserve?

    Some may ask about the effect of commercial fishing. While I couldn't find stats for La Jolla specifically, total California harvesting is on the order of 45,000 lbs per day (not in protected preserves) while all seals in California eat about 300,000-350,000+ lbs of sealife per day. The total Californian commercial impact appears far smaller than that of seals.

    Again comes the question of whether supporting the seals which happen to be top tier predators next to an already fragile ecosystem is wise.

    If we want to preserve nature in a realistic way, we need to look past the cute brown eyes and consider what these unendangered creatures are doing to the ecosystem and world around them. It would be interesting to see what an environmental impact survey of the seals would reveal. Encouraging seals by the preserve can do a great deal of damage if not managed carefully.

  • Barry Pott

    It is a good thought to use the web camera to shoot videos of the seals but I am against going too close to them and that too with children. These people definitely like the animals but if they cause any harm people do not back them up.
    http://www.karinherzog.com/fr

  • mike

    seems you some one watching all night on the vidio camera, thought the idea was to keep people from messing with seals at night, but last night 13th there were teens on the beach touching the seals taking pictures right in there faces with flashes one girl grabed a seals flippers and was almost bitten. they were there for awhile. the person who was on the camera was watching did nothing even blurred the lens. and always kept the camera just off the kids., and the kids were on the beach messing with the seals.
    and did nothing. why and what good is it if nothing is done???
    i live in oregon and was watching this go on.

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